President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has introduced a proposal to ban advertising from state-owned television channels.
In the US, there are usually limitations on advertising on public television. Most public television in the US is financed through a mix of corporate and government contributions and donations of private individuals.
However, in a number of countries in Europe, state broadcasters are funded through a mix of advertising and public money. Sarkozy now wants to phase out ads from France’s public TV stations. To make up the difference in funding, he wants to institute new taxes on private broadcasters, such as TF1 SA, and telecom operators, such as France Télécom SA. TF1 is France’s most-watched television, with its popular mix of gameshows, reality TV programs and American prime-time series such as House and Grey’s Anatomy dubbed in French.
As you can imagine, France’s private TV companies are not happy with this new tax. They claim that the new tax forces them to subsidize state-backed competitors.
Likewise, the European Commission is “not enthusiastic” about the French plans. “For the European Commission, it is important to increase citizens’ purchasing power and growth in Europe. It is not in favour of a new tax on sectors that are drivers of growth,” said commission spokesman Martin Selmayr.
Nonetheless, Sarkowsky plans to move ahead with the move as of January 2009.
Stay tuned to see what happens!
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